The Eyes Have It When It Comes to Hunger

Your visual memory of what you ate may play a bigger role in your feelings of fullness several hours after a meal than how much you actually ate, says a new study from British researchers published in PLOS One.

The researchers showed 100 people a picture of either a 300 ml serving of cream of tomato soup or a 500 ml serving. Then they had each person eat cream of tomato soup in a specially-designed bowl that made it impossible for participants to know how much soup they were eating. After finishing, the amount of soup a participant ate determined how full he or she felt, but several hours later, it wasn’t how much they’d eaten but the picture they’d seen that more accurately determined their level of hunger. Those who’d been shown the picture of 500 ml of soup were less hungry than those who’d been show the 300 ml picture. “One logical conclusion from this,” says the lead researcher, ” is that anything we can do to promote the memory of a recent meal is a good thing.”

Click here to read the NPR story and here to read the study in PLOS One.